Interview - Cryptic Rock, Juliana confirms she is working on a new album

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Interview - Cryptic Rock, Juliana confirms she is working on a new album

Juliana, interviewed by Cryptic Rock, with some new album news:

CrypticRock.com – You have this new album, and you have continued to keep yourself busy through the years. Just in 2017 you released Pussycat, which was another really wonderful selection of original songs balancing youth and maturity. You mentioned you always have new ideas popping up, that in mind, are you working on any new music?

Juliana Hatfield – I am. I have already recorded some tracks with drums. I started work on my next album, I am writing it, recording it, and going to go back to the studio in early May to keep working on it. It’s all originals. 

CrypticRock.com – Excellent! That is a very quick turn over between album. Is it safe to say creative inspiration is flowing freely for you?

Juliana Hatfield – Yea, I feel good about the creative part of me, it’s in really healthy shape. If I want to be a working musician, I have to work, like anyone else. That’s how I survive, that is how I make a living. I have to keep working; just because I had a record come out recently, doesn’t mean I should just sit around and toss myself with champagne. I have to keep working, that’s what people do. 

 

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Upcoming Show - May 7, 2018, Somerville, MA - Bed 20th Anniversary

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Upcoming Show - May 7, 2018, Somerville, MA - Bed 20th Anniversary

20 years on! A gig announcement via The Burren, in Somerville, MA:

Juliana Hatfield celebrates the 20th Anniversary of her Bed LP by playing the record start to finish with drummer Todd Phillips who played on the recording. She’ll also be playing material from her Hey Babe LP (which turns 25 this year), as well as some stuff off her new critically acclaimed Juliana Hatfield sings Olivia Newton-John LP. Special guest Ed Valauskas on bass.

https://tickets.burren.com

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JHONJ Review Round-up 2

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JHONJ Review Round-up 2

Another batch of reviews for Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, with thanks again to Carlos Lopez for many of these links:

Jim Fusilli, The Wall Street Journal:

At its best moments, the album finds Ms. Hatfield paying respect, but not fealty, to Ms. Newton-John’s familiar versions. Its best cuts—including “Dancin’ ’Round and ’Round” and “A Little More Love,” both from “Totally Hot”—call to mind not the originator, but the bright side of Ms. Hatfield, thus liberating the recording from the glum responsibilities of a nostalgia exercise.

Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone:

Pop supernova Olivia Newton-John and alt-pop heroine Juliana Hatfield both possess winsome sopranos, and this delightful album filters Newton-John's biggest hits through Hatfield's slightly grungier sensibility. Hatfield's obvious affinity for the source material is evident throughout, with her coy take on the late-Seventies smash "A Little More Love" and her heartfelt version of the Grease showstopper "Hopelessly Devoted to You" being particular highlights.

Robert Peacock, The Wee Review:

This album’s niche, then, but not pure gimmick. You might need to love both women to truly love this album, but you wouldn’t be disappointed if you were a fan of either, or even a curious bystander. Respect to Hatfield for being so hopelessly devoted to Newton-John and full marks for the cover art which does a good job of capturing the vibe.

Grant Walters, Albumism (5/5):

If you’re a fan of Newton-John’s or Hatfield’s, there are plenty of reasons you’ll want to put this record on and bask in its thoughtfulness. If you’re not familiar with either but appreciate an intuitive, talented artist giving voice to a batch of compelling compositions, this album’s for you too.

Jeff Rogers, saukvalley.com:

That new take on old songs works best where you might least expect it. Hatfield’s version of “Physical” is fun, where the original was kind of annoying. A reworking of “Xanadu” dials down the gloss just enough to let the subtle, fuzzy guitar give the undeniable earworm of a song an interesting twist. Same with “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “A Little More Love.”

Hyperbolium, No Depression:

Hatfield has internalized these songs and their artist in a thousand bedroom and car singalongs, and filters them through the original artistry they helped inspire. The contentment of “Have You Never Been Mellow” retains its optimistic mid-70s introspection while being deepened by Hatfield’s additional decades of life experience, and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” could just as easily be Hatfield singing about Newton-John as it was Sandy singing about Danny. This is a treat for fans of both Newton-John and Hatfield, and the only thing missing are some Grease photo cards to stick inside your locker.

Ian Rushbury, Under The Radar:

There's a great mix of reverence and alt-rock on this record, which moves Sings Olivia Newton-John from an idea that was better in planning than in practice onto a different level. About two or three songs into the album, you'll forget that it's a "concept" album and just enjoy it for what it is—a really strong collection of songs that just happen to come from an unlikely source. Now all we have to do is wait for the Olivia Newton John Sings Juliana Hatfield album.

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The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #132: Juliana Hatfield - The Rumpus.net

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The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #132: Juliana Hatfield - The Rumpus.net

Juilana, interviewed by Allyson McCabe for an excellent article in The Rumpus:

Rumpus: I think you can even see it at the end of Grease, in her transformation from Sandra Dee to Sandy, although it takes the form of a makeover and a cigarette and some spandex pants.

 

Hatfield: I choose to look at the end of Grease in a different way. It’s too depressing to think, Oh, you just have to whore it up and you’ll get everything. You’ll get the man. You’ll get the happiness. I think at the end of Grease it’s more like she’s acknowledging that this is just a role that girls play, it was a wink, and just playful. And I think that’s what saves the ending of Grease. It’s a role she’s playing, but we’re all in the know.

Having said that, I think another part of why I have such an affinity for Olivia Newton-John is because I have had my own struggles with being perceived as a “good girl.” She’s really seen as someone who’s cute and sweet, and people have put her in that box, and I feel like some people have wanted to put me in that same kind of box. Sometimes I also feel like I’m limited by my own sense of right and wrong.

Rumpus: Tell me more.

Hatfield: Sandy’s character was kind of cursed to be a good girl, not just being perceived that way, but actually that is her nature, and she can’t escape it. And I felt that way too, like I was an outcast in high school because my peers were drinking, and having sex, and doing drugs, and I wasn’t and I couldn’t. I still wanted to hang out with these people, and they were my friends, but I felt like an outcast because I was not breaking the rules.

If you read just one of the interviews Juliana has given on the Olivia Newton-John covers album, make it this one.

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Xanadu - Juliana and Olivia versions mixed as a "duet" by Jake Fogelnest

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Xanadu - Juliana and Olivia versions mixed as a "duet" by Jake Fogelnest

This is marvellous.

Endorsed by jh too:

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield talks about ‘exciting challenge’ of covering Olivia Newton-John | The Current

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield talks about ‘exciting challenge’ of covering Olivia Newton-John | The Current

JG: Do you think that your fans listening might reassess your catalog as well, listening to it alongside these Olivia Newton-John songs?

 

JH: Maybe they will discover, as I am, that I have been more influenced by her musically than I ever realized. I thought I just loved her music, but, now when I go back and listen to my stuff, I can see similarities in some of the ways that I layer vocal harmonies against melody, and the way I orchestrate some of the backing keyboards and guitars and things. I think theres a Olivia Newton-John influence in some of my music. Just melodically, I love really pretty, melodious tunes and that’s something I love about her. I love the kind of melodies that move a lot. Yeah, I think there are similarities between us.

 

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JHONJ Release Day Review Round-up

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JHONJ Release Day Review Round-up

Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John is released today by American Laundromat Records. It's available on the major streaming / download sites, and on cd, cassette and vinyl direct form the label.

It seems that most of us who pre-ordered have had the album for the last week or two.

I agree with what seems to be a universal consensus - it's a wonderful idea, superbly executed. It is the perfect way to follow Pussycat.

With thanks as ever to Carlos Lopez for many of the links that appear on these pages, here are some of the reviews:

Gina, Fools Rush In:

Hatfield says in her liner notes that she has always found Newton-John’s work inspiring and positive, and that completely virtuous stance shines through in her interpretations of it: there’s nothing cynical or kitschy in her choice of artist. Unlike the usual goofy ‘70s covers many bands choose, there’s absolutely no irony here: instead, Hatfield successfully injects her vision into ours, so that, at the end of the record, rather than dismissing her, we learn to have that same kind of faith in her too.

Chris Martin, Atlanta Auditory Association:

If I had not known this was an album of ONJ songs I would swear the rocking “Totally Hot” and “Make a Move On Me” were Hatfield originals. If you ever listen to Hatfield’s music, then you know disco is far from her sound, so I was curious as to how she would handle the tunes “Magic” and “Xanadu”. Staying true to the originals she nails both giving them a hint of the disco vibe while grounding them with perfectly placed guitars.

Jeff Gemill, The Old Grey Cat:

Aside from a sped-up “Dancin’ ‘Round and ‘Round,” the arrangements hew close to the originals, though the pop and pop-country overtones are replaced with the punky pop-rock embellishments that have long accented Juliana’s work. Electric guitars are often at the fore – even on the opener, “I Honestly Love You,” which is raw and real.

The epiphany: These songs are as much a reflection of Juliana’s soul as her own compositions. It’s “This Lonely Love” brought into the open for all to see and share.

aLfie vera mella, Cryptic Rock (5/5):

The 1980s and the 1990s may be both heralded as prolific and proficient ages of music in terms of outputs and stylistic diversity. Taking this into consideration, Hatfield’s homage to Newton-John is a completion of a circle. It is, therefore, a doubly worthy contribution to the 2010s own streak of musical greatness that is surely to be hailed in the decades to come. CrypticRock gives Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John 5 out of 5 stars.

Glenn Gamboa, Newsday (4.5/5):

With “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John” (American Laundromat), Hatfield not only showcases the sturdiness of Newton-John’s undeniable catalog, which spans country, pop and rock, but by amping up the edges serves as a reminder of the barriers the Aussie singer broke through in the ’70s.

Christopher Long, Ink 19:

For longtime Newton-John admirers, the 14-track collection will take ya on a friendly-feeling trip down memory lane. However, it’s the non Newton-John fans – the young folks who weren’t around back in the old days, as well as Hatfield’s fervent followers, who will reap the greatest joy from this set, as it stands tall on its own, simply as a solid, new rock release.

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Interview  - Juliana Hatfield Brings the 'Magic' to Her Olivia Newton-John Covers Album - PopMatters

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield Brings the 'Magic' to Her Olivia Newton-John Covers Album - PopMatters

Juliana, interviewed by David Chiu for PopMatters:

PM: Did you have a particular criteria in selecting the songs?

JH: It was stuff that I knew. I was choosing [songs] from those five albums that I know well and spent the most time listening to. And then it was either the songs that I liked or the songs that I liked the most, or the songs that I think I can shake up a little bit and give a new spin, like "I Honestly Love You", "Dancin' 'Round and 'Round", or "Totally Hot". The songwriting is still great, and there's something in them that I thought I could make the songs my own.

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield Indulges Her Sweet Tooth on New Olivia Newton-John Covers Album | Paste

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield Indulges Her Sweet Tooth on New Olivia Newton-John Covers Album | Paste

Juliana, speaking to Geoffrey Himes for an article in Paste Magazine:

“For my whole career, without consciously realizing it,” Hatfield says, “I’ve been trying to integrate Olivia and X, the sweet pop and the messy punk. I’ve always had those two sides to me, not only in what I play but also in what I listen to. I veer back and forth like a pendulum. On this new record, I felt the need to rough up Olivia’s songs, to muss up their hair, to add a little grime. Because that’s who I am; I’m not as pristine or as strong a singer as her. So I had to play to my own strengths—to my scrappiness.”

 

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Somerville, MA - April 6, 2018 - Photos, Set List

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Somerville, MA - April 6, 2018 - Photos, Set List

Juliana played ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, MA last night (April 6) in a show to celebrate her new Olivia Newton-John covers album and the vinyl reissue of Hey Babe.

What a set list:

  • Failure
  • If I Could
  • Somebody Is Waiting For Me
  • Cry In The Dark
  • Wonder Why
  • Magic
  • Suspended In Time
  • Please Mr. Please
  • Hopelessly Devoted To You
  • Have You Never Been Mellow
  • I See You
  • Forever Baby
  • Remember November / Rain
  • Just Lust
  • Everything Is Forgiven
  • Short-Fingered Man
  • I Honestly Love You
  • A Little More Love
  • Physical
  • Xanadu
  • Totally Hot
  • Universal Heart-beat
  • Necessito
  • Singing In The Shower

Thanks to Charlie for the annotated set list photo (and info: "The order of the last two was swapped... five piece band (2g, b, d, k) with sometimes a sixth member (ag or 2nd k) and sometimes a seventh (bv)... solo means guitar solo, not alone!")

All other photos courtesy of David Young of Dry Eye Photography.

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield has no time for your sexist bullshit | Vanyaland

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield has no time for your sexist bullshit | Vanyaland

Juliana, interviewed by Victoria Wasylak for Vanyaland:

VW: As someone who’s been an influence on you, what qualities of hers [Olivia Newton-John] have you tried to put into your own music?

JH: I don’t know if I’d call her an influence, it’s more like I liked what her music made me feel. It made me feel happy in a visceral way, like the sound of her voice was just very pleasing to my sensibilities. I just felt an affinity with her sense of melody and harmony, because I also love to sing really wide-ranging melodies, with lots of layers of harmonies and vocals. I think it’s like a shared sensibility, maybe. Her voice is not rock and roll, and my voice is not rock and roll either. I always wanted to have a rock and roll voice but I didn’t, so I guess I was truly drawn to her because she also had a kind of non-rock voice, and that was part of the affinity I had for her.

VW: When you went about recording this album, did you change anything in any of the songs?

JH: It was a challenge to decide with each song how much I wanted to veer away from the original and how close I wanted to stay. There were choices I was making for each song. Some of them are pretty faithful to the original versions, whereas other ones I kind of reinterpreted a little. There’s a song called “Make A Move On Me,” which Olivia’s version is kind of swing, but we straightened it up so it’s more of a caveman rock feel. “Hopelessly Devoted To You” is really pretty close [to the original], I didn’t change a whole lot, except I added one distorted guitar in the chorus. Just little choices. It depends on the song how close it is to the original. Like an instinct, each song seemed to tell me what it needed.

 

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Interview - From ‘Pussycat’ to Olivia Newton-John: Juliana Hatfield lightens the mood | The Somerville Times

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Interview - From ‘Pussycat’ to Olivia Newton-John: Juliana Hatfield lightens the mood | The Somerville Times

Ahead of Juliana's show at ONCE Ballroom on April 6, she has been interviewed by Blake Maddux for The Somerville Times. Topics include the new album, further reflective thoughts on Pussycat, and this little curiosity about writing:

TST: It has been 10 years since When I Grow Up: A Memoir was published. Do you plan to write another book?

JH: Well, I’m always writing, and I think at some point I’ll try to get another book together, but nothing is really taking shape yet as a book. But I’m definitely writing all the time. I’ll make another book at some point, but it’s not really happening yet. I’ve actually written a couple books since my last book came out, but I didn’t want to publish them.

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Radio Interview - WFMU

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Radio Interview - WFMU

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Juliana was interviewed by Joe Belock for WFMU's Three Chord Monte show yesterday:

Juliana's stellar 30-plus year career as a singer/songwriter/guitarist has included work with the Blake Babies, the Lemonheads, The Juliana Hatfield Three, a dozen solo records and many other collaborations. Her latest project is "Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John," and she checks in with Three Chord Monte to discuss how hopelessly devoted to the Aussie pop legend she is.

Want to know which album by another artist Juliana has thought about covering in its entirety? Listen away. As well as the interview, you can hear 5 songs from the upcoming album: Have You Never Been Mellow, Totally Hot, A Little More Love, Hopelessly Devoted To You, and Physical.

It's a 3 hour show but handily there's a playlist so you can jump straight to the timestamps for the interview and song segments.

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Quiet storm: why Juliana Hatfield’s Hey Babe roared as loud as the riot grrrls | Culture | The Guardian

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Quiet storm: why Juliana Hatfield’s Hey Babe roared as loud as the riot grrrls | Culture | The Guardian

Laura Fisher, for The Guardian on the 25th anniversary of Hey Babe:

Hey Babe was among the most successful independent releases of the year; 25 years on, it remains a largely forgotten minor masterpiece. But the release of a newly remastered Hey Babe on the American Laundromat label this month will reintroduce listeners to a coming-of-age album for the solitary female misfit. At the time of Hey Babe’s release, the riot grrrl movement was normalising the expression of female rage, offering a crucial framework of empowerment for female listeners. But Hey Babe offers a landscape of emotion – self-disgust, second-guessing, depression, cautious optimism – that has no place in a reception model so narrowly hinged on “empowerment”.

These words are adapted from Laura's exceptional 2013 essay at The New Inquiry.

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Sounds Around Town: Juliana Hatfield gets 'Physical' onstage and on record

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Sounds Around Town: Juliana Hatfield gets 'Physical' onstage and on record

In an article by Ed Symkus for Wicked Local, Juliana talks about her band line up for next week's Somerville show showcasing the Olivia Newton-John album:

“Usually at my shows it’s me, bass, and drums,” said Hatfield. “But this time I’ve got more people than usual. I’ll be singing and playing guitar, and there’s Ed Valauskas on bass, Magen Tracy on keyboards, Mike Oram on guitar, Eric Edmonston on drums, and a couple of other guests. We’ll do a lot of the new album, but not every song. And we’ll probably go as far back as my first (solo) album ‘Hey Babe,’ which was just reissued for its 25th anniversary.”

There's also reference to planning her next album.

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